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History

Uplifted Dead Coral Reef on Simeulue Island, Indonesia from 9.0 Earthquake on 12/26/04.
Craig Shuman, Reef Check.

The Marine Photobank was founded in 2001 to meet the need for high quality underwater and above water ocean conservation photos that highlight the environmental issues impacting the ocean ecosystem. After perusing publications from research institutions, nonprofits and government agencies, it became clear that there was a lack of gripping ocean images to illustrate human impacts on the marine environment. Since there was no strong market for these types of images, the Marine Photobank began to collect marine photos, images and graphics from amateur and professional photographers, researchers and educators alike to provide them to the public at no cost for non-commercial use.

Inspiration for the Marine Photobank originated with philanthropist and photographer Wolcott Henry, who witnessed firsthand the destruction of the marine system and felt the need to amass these images. With this in mind, Wolcott partnered with Green Media Toolshed to develop a collection of ocean conservation images. Members from all over the world joined the Photobank to download images. Researchers, educators, activists, agency personnel and the public heralded the program as a great resource.

In 2004, the program became a part of SeaWeb in order to reach a larger audience. Shortly after, the website and database was completely redesigned, including the addition of numerous new features that built upon the success and accomplishments of the original site. Today the program is a part of SeaWeb’s Sea Strategy Network and houses more than 5,000 marine conservation images and has grown to over 7,000 members. Those members then reach millions of people worldwide, using our images to raise ocean awareness. In January 2005, media were invited to join the membership as the first for-profit entity, enabling professional photographers to generate potential revenue from their works. Images from the Marine Photobank appear in a wide array of Member’s Photo Works including textbooks, publications, scientific papers, news stories and websites.